For the student of the Pankey Philosophy, ‘Know Yourself’ is a familiar phrase. Dr. Pankey spoke often about understanding your own temperament, circumstances, and objectives. Those are the things that are usually known to us and the people around us.
Valuing the Deep Structure of Ourselves
Modern psychology might call that the surface structure of our thinking, feeling, and behavior. Knowing these things is critical to our decision making and moment-to-moment activities. Dr. Pankey was also a student of and eventually a master of the deep structure that is composed of our emotions and the memories from our life’s experiences that fuel those emotions.
Those emotions and memories are less well known to us and their impact is less appreciated by us. However, they are very powerful drivers of our current ways of thinking, feeling, deciding, and experiencing the world around us. The deep structure is the enormous part of the iceberg that is hidden underwater.
That part can represent great strength, endurance, and possibility. It can also be very unknown, dangerous, and limiting. How well we understand ourselves and what we do with that understanding will determine how much we limit our lives or whether we approach the limits of our human possibilities.
Using Personal Insight to Develop Leadership Skills
Twenty years ago, I did not know myself very well. I knew about my surface structure and very little about my deep structure. That knowledge got a huge jumpstart in a leadership workshop with Brian DesRoches, Phd.
Brian artfully blended the use of assessments, the teaching of contemporary brain science and modern psychology, as well as small group experiences to help each of us deepen and broaden our understanding of ourselves.
Subsequently, my professional coach has helped me to continue that development. Just as we rely on superb clinical teachers to develop our clinical skill sets, this kind of work requires the expertise of a trusted professional. That kind of helping relationship provides insights, observations, expertise, experience, and accountability.
Each of us needs this to see ourselves as we truly are. In my view, it is necessary to have professional expertise to grow your understanding of yourself. Knowing yourself is the foundation of change. You can’t start soon enough. There are no substitutes. It requires collaboration, intention, and patience.